Whirlpool Corporation made its name for itself 107 years ago with its motorized washing machines. Today, appliances from its iconic brands such as KitchenAid and Maytag can be found in three-quarters of U.S. households. Now, the company is using software, sensors and analytics to close the loop between the kitchen appliances it manufactures and the food and beverages those machines help prepare.
A lynchpin of the company’s Redefine Product strategy, for which Whirlpool has received a Digital Edge 50 Award for digital innovation, is a bid to get its arms around customers’ digital journeys, from the time they begin shopping to their selection of Whirlpool’s brands. In the process, Whirlpool is looking to generate more value among customers, says Global CIO Michael Heim.
“It’s a more comprehensive view than functions and features; it’s how they are all bundled together to create an outcome that matters,” Heim tells CIO.com. “By shifting our mindset to this consumer journey, we can differentiate ourselves in the marketplace.”
It’s a story writ large worldwide across business sectors. Corporate leadership, scrambling to meet consumer preferences, are transforming their businesses wholesale around digital technologies. And CIOs are re-platforming to meet the shift. Through 2022, 75 percent of successful digital strategies will be built by a transformed IT organization, with modernized and rationalized infrastructure, applications and data architectures, according to IDC research.
Winning consumers’ hearts through their stomachs
Whirlpool’s Redefine Product strategy includes Yummly, a startup it acquired in 2017 to help consumers plan meals by tapping into digital technologies.
Through the Guided Cooking initiative, Yummly’s website and mobile app, which boast 30 million users, offer step-by-step video tutorials for recipes that align with a family’s specific diets, allergies and taste preferences.
From the Yummly mobile app, consumers can send cooking instructions to any of the 25 Whirlpool smart cooking ovens, which include internet of things (IoT) sensors, to prepare meals for time-crunched families.